GSK praises respiratory virus attack after positive test results

GSK’s trial results seem to suggest its potential blockbuster vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus is more effective than Pfizer, as competitors compete for a new market that protects older adults against common lung infections.

In data released on Thursday, GSK said its vaccine showed an overall efficacy of 82.6% in a clinical trial, higher than Pfizer’s previously published 66.7%, although trials have not always been consistent. can be compared directly.

GSK’s vaccine candidate, which is expected to submit for approval this year, has resulted in a 94.1% reduction in severe RSV, higher than Pfizer’s 85.7% for preventing severe illness. Definitions of severe illness varied slightly between trials.

Tony Wood, GSK’s chief scientific officer, said RSV remains one of the main infectious diseases for which there is no vaccine, despite 60 years of research.

The illness, often mistaken for a cold or flu, affects 64 million people and kills 160,000 each year, affecting older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions and infants. the heaviest.

“We believe that with the high efficacy of the vaccine demonstrated in this important trial, our vaccine candidate has the potential to help reduce the global burden of disease-related RSV in older adults, including those at high risk for serious outcomes. .

The company says the vaccine is safe and well-tolerated, with mostly mild and transient side effects.

This vaccine will push GSK, despite being one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, to fall behind in the race for Covid-19. It has provided adjuvants, which can improve the immune system’s response to vaccines, to other companies including Sanofi, far behind Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca.

Jo Walton, an analyst at Credit Suisse, forecasts that the RSV vaccine market could be worth $6 billion at its peak, with GSK accounting for about a third of the market. When selecting a vaccine, health authorities like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are likely to focus on how well it protects against hospitalizations, she said.

GSK is hope RSV . vaccine will prove they can develop new blockbusters and rejuvenate their drug pipeline. The company launched ambitious targets last year, including a target of more than £33bn in sales by 2031, following criticism from activist investors including its hedge fund America Manager Elliott.

Gareth Powell, head of healthcare at Polar Capital, said the RSV vaccine is an “interesting product” but not yet proof of a complete transformation. “I still argue that you need more evidence to show that the research and development engine is working,” he said.

GSK and Pfizer are at the forefront of the race to find an RSV vaccine, ignited once again by the breakthrough of Jason McLellan and Barney Graham, scientists at the US National Institutes of Health, who have shown found a way to stabilize an important protein. Johnson & Johnson, Bavarian Nordic and Moderna are all developing their own contenders.

Emma Walmsley, GSK chief executive, told the Financial Times in July that she believes having more companies selling RSV vaccines will create more demand.

“Adult awareness about immunization has increased significantly, for obvious reasons, over the past few years,” she said. “Every family, company and country can now see the direct economic benefits of preventing disease rather than just treating it. I think sometimes the more companies involved can create a bigger market.”

GSK’s vaccine includes only one strain of RSV, while Pfizer uses two. However, GSK says its vaccine candidate is highly effective against both strains A and B. GSK also uses its adjuvant to increase effectiveness, which Pfizer does not use.

William Gruber, senior vice president of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said Pfizer doesn’t include an adjuvant because it is something of little defense amid growing vaccine hesitancy, especially especially when this vaccine is being developed for pregnant women. GSK has stopped testing it in pregnant women, but Pfizer is expected to report data on its injection later this year.

“It is clear that we are interested in not only adults but also vaccinating pregnant women to protect their unborn babies,” he said.


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